Despite a decent critical reception and being sold to 170 territories, the TV adaptation of My Brilliant Friend still feels underrated. This gorgeous, sun-soaked series – based on the quartet of novels by elusive author Elena Ferrante – tracks the contrasting lives of two Neapolitan women as Italy comes of age in the late 20th century.
Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo grow up in the same working-class neighbourhood in Naples, surviving the local domestics, gangster politics and patriarchal structures. But Elena, having slightly more privilege, gains more advantages than Lila. While the former moves on to university and finds a career in writing, the latter struggles to make a living. The story is a deep examination of the Italian class system as well as a touching, difficult tale of the lifelong love between two friends.
A first-look photo reveals that My Brilliant Friend’s concluding season is currently in production, with a whole new cast. Here’s everything we know.
What’s the My Brilliant Friend, season 4, plot?
At the end of season three, Elena leaves her husband and children to fly away with her previously unrequited love Nino Sarratore. This comes after years of domesticated life, trying to write, and going on feminist marches during the Years of Lead (the lethal political friction between fascists and communists). When on the plane with Nino, Elena looks in the bathroom mirror and sees her older self: symbolising a turning point in her female liberation.
Season four (The Story of the Lost Child) sees Elena leave her Florentine, authorly lifestyle to return to her old neighbourhood in Naples. Lila, in contrast, has never been able to unshackle herself from the place. The latter is now a successful entrepreneur, but she’s still in conflict with the criminal, patriarchal obstacles that govern the town.
One of the few negatives about the show is that, despite exploring an intimate female narrative, seasons have been largely directed by men (with the brief exception of Alice Rohrwacher in season two). The efforts of Saverio Costanzo in the first two seasons and Daniele Luchetti in season three shouldn’t be undervalued, but they contradict the story's priority of women telling their own truths.
Happily, the series’ fourth and final season is being directed by female filmmaker Laura Bispuri (The Peacock’s Paradise, Sworn Virgin).
Who’s in the My Brilliant Friend season 4 cast?
Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace, who played Elena and Lila in the first three seasons of My Brilliant Friend, have now departed the series. When Mazzucco looked in that airplane mirror, Alba Rohrwacher (narrator since season one) stares back at her. The first-look photo confirms that Rohrwacher is playing the middle-aged Elena, with Irene Maiorino (Gomorrah) as Lila.
The older Nino is being played by Hannibal actor Fabrizio Gifuni.
What’s the My Brilliant Friend, season 4, release date?
No word yet. It’s also hard to predict: 14 months elapsed between seasons one and two, and season three took two years to arrive because of Covid. If we’re being optimistic, season four’s release could be late spring/early summer at the earliest. Plenty of time for an epic rewatch…
Brilliant Friend seasons 1–3 are available on NOW and Sky On-Demand.
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